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Top Editor At The State Newspaper Steps Down

Veteran newsroom leader informs paper’s staff of his decision this week …

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One of the top editors at The (Columbia, South Carolina) State newspaper has stepped down from his post, multiple sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to this news outlet.

Steve Brook, who has spent more than four decades as a professional journalist, was promoted to managing editor of the paper in 2009.  Prior to that he was its deputy managing editor and before that he served as the paper’s executive business editor.

Brook had been at The State since 1991.

It is not immediately clear what prompted Brook’s decision, but the timing of his announcement suggests he may have decided to accept a recent buyout offer from long-suffering McClatchy, the national firm that owns The State and four other papers in South Carolina.  Late last month, McClatchy announced that it was offering voluntary buyouts to 450 employees (roughly ten percent of its staff).

Previous McClatchy purges have claimed top talent at The State.  Last August, the debt-addled firm issued pink slips to 3.5 percent of its staff – including Cindi Ross Scoppe, one of the most well-known editorial voices in the Palmetto State.

According to our sources, Brook published a lengthy missive to his colleagues on Thursday informing them of his decision to step down.

Known for his brusque demeanor, Brook was praised by his colleagues for his unwavering professionalism – and for constantly challenging them to be better reporters.

“If there was a hole in your story he would find it,” one reporter at the paper told us.

A native of Georgia, Brook graduated from Furman University.  Prior to his lengthy career as an editor, he was a reporter for The Macon Telegraph and The St. Paul Pioneer Press.

This news outlet has obviously sparred with The State and its reporters in the past, but as we noted upon the occasion of Scoppe’s termination from the paper last August “we hate to see the marketplace of ideas lose voices … especially talented ones.”

And while Brook’s name may not have appeared on bylines at The State, his voice was certainly still an integral part of its coverage.

We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors …

UPDATE: According to our sources, Brook’s letter to his fellow staffers was quite poignant.  We are endeavoring to get a copy of it … 

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